Tuesday, November 19, 2002

Mother-daughter TV night

Tonight's my big TV night with my 12-year-old daughter. Most evenings she's busy watching her Disney Channel shows in the living room and I'm busy working on the computer or watching the Food Network in another room with my son; but on Tuesday nights this season, we come together to watch "8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter" (starring John Ritter, or, as he's known in my house, the voice of Clifford the big red dog) at 8 p.m. and, at 9 p.m., "Life with Bonnie" (starring most of the cast of "Return to Me," one of our favorite movies, of which we had another mother-daughter DVD viewing this weekend). The show in between, "According to Jim" (starring Jim Belushi, another "Return to Me" alum), we watch if there's no homework or trombone practicing or other last minute hurry to worry about. "8 Simple Rules" makes me smile because the way the two teenage girls torture their father reminds me of the way my daughter is starting to tweak her pop as she slips slowly and inexorably into teen-dom. But Bonnie's show is my fave -- not as much for the much-praised improvised scenes of Bonnie at work but for the scripted but awfully true-to-my-life scenes of at-home chaos and affection. I like the way the parents are comfortably in charge of the family, with neither playing the buffoon but both making mistakes and compromises. The kids are cute, but they're not comedians; the humor comes more from the circumstances and the relationships than from rim-shot-minded schtick. Which means that this is not exactly a laugh-a-minute show, and that takes some getting used to. Tune in tonight, and get started.

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